Here you will find some information about a few (free) places to stay/camp along the route we cycled and some information on the road(condition).
• Estancia Harberton: +/- 100 kms (60 miles) from Ushuaia, from which the last 45 kms unpaved with many short, steep climbs (you have to go back the same road to get back to Ruta 3). Free camping without facilities about 5 kms (3 miles) before the estancia; is marked. River next to campground for water.
• Tolhuin: +/- 100 kms (60 miles) from Ushuaia on Ruta 3. You can sleep for free (incl. shower and toilet) at the bakery. Sign for bakery (panaderia) alongside the road. Internet/ wifi.
• Rio Grande: no (more) camping. We stayed at B&B Ruta 40 (Eva Peron 38 – Chacra 2; facebook Bed & Breakfast Ruta 40) , at Willie’s place. In between a tattooshop and a restaurant. Very nice and hospitable place. Internet/ wifi.
• San Sebastian: border. It’s possible to spend the night in the waitingarea of the border on the Argentinian side. It’s a closed place, it’s warm and you can cook and take a shower (ask for the key), but it is very noisy. There’s also a hostal, but we don’t know the price. On the Chilean side of the border is nothing, but we know people have camped there. Between the 2 borders is 15 kms (9 miles) of ripio.
• Cerro Castillo: a little shop, there probably will be a place where you can camp. Only on the Chilean side, the Argentinian side is nothing but a customs building. Between both borders there’s ripio.
• Tapi Aike: 54 kms (31 miles) from Cerro Castillo. Here’s a policestation (across from the gass station) where you can camp. Also, here starts 65 kms (40 miles) of ripio.
• Policestation: after 50 kms (30 miles) of ripio there’s a policestation where you can camp (and/or get water), 15 kms (9 miles) further is El Cerrito from which we have heard that you can camp.
• Rio Bote: an abandoned campground or something. You can (still) camp there.
• El Calafate: nice campground, El Ovejero at the beginning of the town. Internet/ wifi.
• El Calafate – El Chalten: estancia La Leona (exactly halfway), but expensive. About 10 kms before La Leona is an abandoned pink house where you can camp. Very nice, sheltered place. Other than that only camping in the wild. Not much water.
• El Chalten: camping
• Lago Desierto: on the other side of the lake is the Argentinian border/customs. You can also camp there with a great view on Mount Fitz Roy. No facilities (water with customs or from the lake)
• Candelario Mancilla:: Here’s the Chilean border. Possibility to camp and use shower and toilet; $ 2500 pp (possibly free if you don’t use the facilities).
• Border Chile – Argentina: from Futaleufu to the border 10 kms (6 miles) paved road, then ripio. After about 200 m (600 ft) is the Argentine border. Right after the border is a free campground next to the river. About 40 kms (25 miles) left to Trevelin on bad ripio. Not much water until Trevelin.
• Trevelin: in Trevelin large supermarket at the beginning (south side) of town. A little further, before the hospital turnoff to campground (sign only visible from other side of the road). On the other side of the town, direction Esquel, there’s also a campground. There is a bank.
• Parque Nacional Los Alerces: beautiful, but hilly, route on good ripio through the national park. Entrancefee $ 50,- pp. You won’t see the trees the park is named after, for that you need to take a ferry and/or hike. Lots of free campgrounds, also payed campgrounds. Free campgrounds have no amenities, not even toilets. Along the route many kiosks or other places where you can buy some food and bread.
• Cholila: from here on back on tarmac. There is a campground.
• Epuyen: campgrounds near the lake. Pretty far away from the road, a long downhill to reach it.
• El Bolson: campgrounds on both sides of the town. All facilities and also a bike repairshop on the north side of town.
• El Bolson – Bariloche: 125 kms (75 miles) of which the first 70 kms (42 miles) uphill till about 1000m (3000 ft). Then flat and downhill and now and then a short climb. Campgrounds before the National Park Nahual Huapi, in Villa Mascardi (nothing else) and about 30 kms (18 miles) before Bariloche.
• Bariloche: we chose to stay at a campground; La Selva Negra, the closest one to the city (3 kms, 1,5 miles, from downtown). You need to get up a very steep hill to get there, (for us) not possible to cycle. Expensive ($70,- pp) and not many facilities like a kitchen, but there is a gas stove. But that’s cheaper than a hostel or hospedaje. You can get to downtown by bus (or bike of course).
• Bariloche Llao Llao: a nice daytrip of about 65 kms (41 miles). In the beginning a very busy road, but it gets better when you get further from the city. Very nice trip through a very beautiful world and with beautiful views. Hilly, but worth it.
• Bariloche – Villa de la Angostura (85 kms, 51 miles): right after Bariloche a very busy road, but it gets better when you get further away from the city. About 12 kms (7 miles) to the turnoff to Villa de La Angostura and from there on not much traffic anymore. A very nice route, in the beginning pretty flat with some hills and later more hilly.
• Seven lakes route: the first 27 kms (16 miles) paved, but with steep hills. After that roadwork (Feb. 2013) and for 30 kms (18 miles) a bad, unpaved road. They’re paving it, so more and more will be paved. From Lago Faulkner the road is paved again. There’s also a campground (on the right hand side) and free camping on the left hand side. From there up till about 1250 meters (3800 ft) through nice surroundings. The last 15 kms (9 miles) to San Martin de Los Andes is a wonderful downhill.
• San Martin de los Andes: a very nice town with many (outdoor)stores and also very many bikestores. You can probable get (almost) everything for the bike. Also a beach at the lake. The only campground of the town is located directly next to the busy road to Junin de los Andes. A lot of shade due to the many trees. We stayed at a warmshowers address, the house of Harry and Ivana, so we don’t have any other information on the campground.
• San Martin de los Andes – Junin de los Andes: it’s uphill for a little bit after San Martin and later there’s another short uphill section, but the rest is flat or goes downhill. It’s good cycling there (we had tailwind).
• Junin de los Andes: a lot smaller than San Martin. Square in the middle. Campground alongside the river, from the road turn right and go past the church. There’s a large supermarket.
• Junin de los Andes – Pucon (pass Mamuil Malal): ascent of about 300 meters (900 ft), but not noticeable. A few little climbs, but other than that very gentle ascending. A beautiful route, with view of the volcano Lanin almost all the way. Not really recommendable with (strong) headwind, because it’s a very open and unsheltered road. The route over the pass Carirrine is more sheltered, through forest. Campground at Lago Tromen, 2 kms (1,2 miles) before the Argentine border. First 58 kms (35 miles) nice pavement, then bad road of lava sand; many holes and bumps. The campground is after 10 kms (6 miles), then another 2 kms (1,2 miles) to the Argentine border and about 20 kms (12 miles) lava road to Puesco. Then beautiful tarmac and descent till Pucon, about 900 meters (2700 ft) lower. Distance Junin – border is about 70 kms (42 miles) and border – Pucon about 80 kms (48 miles).
We took a bus from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama. We heard that the inland road between Santiago and La Serena is very nice, but after La Serena it gets very boring. Nothing but desert.
• San Pedro de Atacama (2240 m; 6750 ft) – Jama (4100 m; 12.500 ft): Over the Paso de Jama (4290 m, 13.000 ft), very hard. You have to go over 4800 m (14.500 ft) twice. All paved. Chilean border in San Pedro, get stamp there. You can camp anywhere beside the road, just make sure it’s a sheltered spot. The mentioned restareas have walls around them and are sheltered, so you can camp there. It took us 4,5 days to get to Susques, so take at least 4 or 5 days of food with you.
– First 12 kms (7 miles) gradual climb to 2530 m (7600 ft), then 32 kms (19 miles) steep climb (7 and 8%) till turnoff Hito Cajon (to Bolivia) at 4665 m (14.000 ft). Very hard because of the high altitude.
– The next 12 kms (9 miles) up and down to Portezuelo de Suco at 4825 m (14.500 ft). Then another while up and down and then downhill to a restarea (total 23 kms, 13 miles). This was the hardest part, from now on it gets easier. A short while after the restarea there’s a small river where you can get water (filter it), this is the only water between San Pedro and Jama. You can also stop a truck and ask the driver for water.
– After the restarea it’s flat for 11 kms (6,5 miles) after which another (gradual) climb of 9 kms (6 miles). Then downhill for 15 kms (9 miles), first steep and then gradual to another restarea.
– Road continues flat and downhill for another 23 kms (13 miles) to another restarea (4240 m, 12.700 ft).
– Another 11 kms (6,5 miles) gradual climb to 4410 m (13.250 ft) and then another 13 kms (7,5 miles) to the border; mostly downhill.
– In Pueblo de Jama (get stamp there) is a YPF (fuel)station where you can get snacks, drinks and some sandwiches. You can also shower there for free. There’s a small store, but they didn’t have much, almost nothing useful. You can camp behind the fuelstation (ask), but there’s no shelter from the wind.
• Jama – Susques:
– After Jama 60 kms (36 miles) of flat road to a crossroad with ruta 70. The road goes southerly and the wind is usually west, so (hard) sidewinds. After 51 kms (30 miles) there are a few small buildings/shacks (Archibarca). Supposedly they are inhabited and you can ask for water. We also heard that you can camp there.
– The next 28 kms (17 miles) are also flat, through and next to Salar de Olaroz, to the lowest point at 3910 m (11.700 ft).
– Another last 11 kms (6,5 miles) climb to Abra de Taire (beginning very gradual, last 4 kms (2 miles) steeper) at 4110 m (12.300 ft).
– 20 kms (12 miles) downhill to Susques, after 17 kms (10 miles) a servicestation with a restaurant
– In Susques (very small town) are accomodations, small restaurants and stores and a ATM
• Susques – Purmamarca – Tilcara: After Susques, the road climbs again for 19 kms (12 miles) till…. Meters (….. ft). Then downhill and a long flat stretch till right after Salinas Grandes (a total of 77 kms (41 miles) before going up again for 26 kms (15 miles) to 4170 meters (12.500 ft). Then a long downhill of 37 kms (21 miles) to Purmamarca (2180 meters/ 6500 ft), where there are shops and accommodation. Another 3 kms (2 miles) downhill to the crossing with Ruta 9.
• Ruta 9:
To the north:
– From the crossing to the north (Tilcara), the road goes up and down but up to about 2400 meters (7200 ft).
– From Tilcara it goes up further, first 500 m (1500 ft) in 45 kms (27 miles) (from 2461 meters; 7400 ft to 2986 meters; 9000 ft) to Humahuaca. The road keeps going up. Then another 700 meters (2100 ft) in 60 kms (36 miles) to Tres Cruces (3693 meters; 11.000 ft) and then another short distance uphill. Then 28 kms (17 miles) downhill and flat (and an occasional short climb) to Abra Pampa (3484 meters; 10.500 ft).
– Abra Pampa – La Quiaca/Villazon (border), 75 kms/ 45 miles: mainly flat with an incidental climb. Emty and windy.
To the south:
– From the crossing to the south (San Salvador de Jujuy) everything downhill, apart from a few short climbs.
– From Jujuy to Salta; first flat, from El Carmen (camping Municipal right outside the town) it goes up 400 meters (1200 ft) very gradually (to 1580 meters/ 4600 ft) and then downhill to Salta, also very gradually.
• Salta – Cachi (165 kms, 100 miles), via Cuesta del Obispo: From Salta to El Carril (40 kms, 24 miles) downhill, flat and slightly uphill. From El Carril the first 10 kms (6 miles) very gradually uphill, then 57 kms (34 miles) steeper of which the last 20 kms (12 miles) (Cuesta del Obispo) unpaved and steep with many swtitchbacks, 5 kms before the top the road is paved again. The top is at 3457 meters (10.500 ft). There’s a hosteria where you can camp, 43 kms (25 miles) from El Carril (24 kms (13 miles) before the top, right before de Cuesta del Obispo starts. From the top downhill for about 20 kms (12 miles) before going up again on a gradual climb for about 10 kms (6 miles), crossing a cactusfield. Then downhill to Payogasta and from there 11 kms (6 miles) up and down to Cachi. There’s a camping Muinicipal in Cachi.
• Cachi – Los Molinos – Cafayate: From Cachi the road is unpaved again. To Molinos you follow a river downstream, the road goes up and down. Road is pretty good, but gets sandy after a while. Right after Seclantas there’s a climb of about 7 kms (4 miles), 200 meters (600 ft) up. Then downhill (sandy) to Molinos. From Molinos the road gets more and more sandy and keeps going up and down, but you go down gradually. After Angostaco (40 kms, 24 miles from Molinos) there’s more sand and another climb, through the Quebrada de Flecha, then a downhill through a beautiful gorge. The road is paved again 5 kms (3 miles) before San Carlos (90 kms, 54 miles, after Molinos; camping municipal). Then it’s another 28 kms (17 miles) to Cafayate on a paved road. The road goes down a bit first, then up and down.
• Cafayate – Salta (Ruta 68, 200 km/ 120 miles): You follow a river downstream through a beautiful canyon to La Vina. Road is up and down, but more down than up. After 110 kms (66 miles) you reach La Vina (camping municipal; ask at police station), Coronel Moldes is a bigger town, 25 kms (15 miles) further. There’s also a camping municipal. The road keeps going up and down. From El Carril it’s another 40 kms (24 miles) to Salta, first very gradually a little uphill and then very gradually back down a little, but hardly noticeable.